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Everything comes cheap here

Phuentsholing has a moderate weather now. And that’s why people from all parts of the country are flooding this already compact and congested city. Schools and colleges are closed for winter vacations. Businessmen are active. Some are already exporting oranges to Bangladesh. Pious pilgrims are bound to Bodh Gaya and the number of counters selling tickets to the land of thousand buddhas are increasing by the day.

A Sherubtse graduate tops CSCE yet again

Very good news indeed – a Sherubtse graduate tops CIVIL SERVICE COMMON EXAMINATION 2009 and many others have done well. Sherubtse College is truly living up to our expectation. Kudos to Sherubtse College! No wonder someone chose to call the institution the Peak of Learning. And what is more interesting this time is a woman topping the exam. And equally exciting is the fact that the all top three are all women.

The Guilty and the Guilt

As his once beloved wife drove away his most prized Land-cruiser, Karma scratched his head before he entered the empty house, once a happy home, now a deserted and cold house sans his smiling children; he asked the heaven above if all women are bestowed with such an eloquence to defend their mistakes to tag their faithful counterparts unfaithful to turn the tide around and claim their modesty.

On the Eve of Winter Solstice

Today is the winter solstice. This means we will have the longest night. Days will be longer and nights shorter hence. But tomorrow will herald the day when the gods in heaven decided to gift this world a very special person. And some six summers ago, He sent me that special person. Since then, my life has never been same ever again. After six years, our love has grown from strength to strength. Our faith and trust have definitely come to fruition. And as we celebrate your birthday, we have so much to be thankful for.

National Day Reflection

Yesterday (December 17, 2009) we gathered early in the morning outside our office to offer our prayers and participate in the joy-filled moments as the nation celebrates 102 years of peace and happiness under the Wangchuck dynasty. And as the national flag was hoisted and 60 mouths started singing the national anthem, we wanted to join thousands of other Bhutanese who would be singing the same tune, thinking the same patriotic thought and feeling the same numbness of happiness, as anthem echoed from the overlooking mountains and hills.

Our apt and age-old adages

There is an old Khengkha saying which goes something like: Doth pa wa yangpa drak, yangpa wa gosa drak (It is better to get up than spend time sleeping and it is even better walking around than just being awake) But of course, it is important for us to have enough sleep for good health. I find this adage so apt especially when health is a serious concern.

Smoking - a mirage in Bhutan

Looks like Bhutan is going to make another headline in the media across the world just like it did in 2004 when initiated a ban on the sale of tobacco products. Now the National Assembly thinks that ban is ineffective as the five years’ experience tells us. So, the National Assembly is going strict – “No Bhutanese can buy or sell tobacco.”(Kuensel dated December 4, 2009).

Another ban

Wamling is a small village in Upper Kheng, about one and half day’s walk from the nearest road point. The village consists of about 70 households. The village, like any other villages in Shingkhar Gewog, prides having to celebrate local festivals and tshechus - kharpu and choedpa being the most popular. The two festivals occur consecutively on the ninth and tenth month of the Bhutanese calendar. Wamling choedpa is a five-day annual event, usually conducted after the successful harvest of rice and other major crops.

Silent Breakers of the night

I was about to fall asleep when I heard some noises from below my apartment. I thought it was a gang fight. But soon the scene from my corridor gave me a sensation of being in a football stadium. I thought students in Bhutan are busy these days, preparing for exams. But I was wrong. Look at the video and see what are our youth up to at this time of the year at night.

These Snobbish Women

The other day I was having lunch with my wife. And seated next to our table was a group of five women.  Sitting near them was an experience of a lifetime. Generally, I have a lot of patience. But I was kind of impatient the other day. It was terrible nightmare. For the first time I felt like I was in a fish market. These women could really talk and talk loud, so loud that if they are at Sangaygang, people in Semtokha would hear what they were talking. 

They won’t care even if the Prime Minister of Bhutan was in the same room having lunch, forget us. We even didn’t exist in the room. I felt like a ghost. They would laugh as if their armpits were being tickled by thousand fingers at once. Don’t get me wrong here – I am not a misogynist, have never been one and never will be in future. Like all men I like women. But everything about these ladies was irritating. They ignored the fact that they might be disturbing other people for there were so many customers. They behaved as if the hotel …

Stop all forms of Violence

I am totally against violence in any form and especially men’s brutality to their counterparts. I believe as human beings we deserve respect, both men and women included. And I don’t believe in the fact that just because someone is a woman she should be sidelined and denied the opportunities. Both men and women are entitled to equal rights and freedom.

Writing Recipes

Who says cooking is difficult? In Bhutan we eat same dishes breakfast, lunch and dinner. How delicious the meal entirely depends on what you add. More items you add to the dish, tastier it is expected to become. May be not for health-freaks though!

A Magazine Dream

I thought I would start a magazine. I talked with an uncle of mine, who was all 'yes, yes' with my idea. We have prepared a business plan and thought of the editorial board. We sought business ideas and suggestions from across the border. We have contacted publishers as far as Kolkata and Delhi. Days have gone into naming the magazine. And Druk Outlook was born.

Our Newsletters out

The second issue is already on the way, but people in my organization seemed to be pleased with the amount of work I have put into making of this newsletter. Nothing satisfies me more than receiving constructive comments and criticisms from the fellow employees. And I tried to incorporate most of the comments in the second upcoming issue. 

However, I wish I could distribute this newsletter everywhere in Bhutan for all the clients and all the customers who are interested but it seems it is supposed to be for in-house distribution only.

For now it is a quarterly newsletter. But we want to make it monthly. It will take some time I know. If it is possible I am ready.

More than that, I am quite happy with the level of support I am getting from the management. and my colleagues. We could only print 100 copies of the first issue, but this time management willingly approved 5 times the number. I am glad this is going to reach people working for this organization all over the country.

Bhutanese are big showoff

Bhutanese are by and large a big showoff. Yes, you heard me right, a big showoff! And if you watch some Bhutanese movies or visit some bars, you would believe me. But yes we show off all the time - starting from what we have to what we know to how much power we possess and what not. Before someone visits a school, students are to paint the walls, clean the drains, whitewash the fences, and cut the green grasses. Just to please and impress the guest? Are school walls, fences and drains built for the guest?
(Photo Courtesy:http://www.smalldynasty.com/blog/?cat=1)
I understand it is important to stay clean, but why don't we do it for ourselves? Why do we need a minister to visit a school to be served better food? Only if the minister visits schools every day! But what is interesting is, I was thoroughly shocked when our computer lab was full of new and working computers when Vice Chancellor of RUB visited the college a few years ago. Are we not showing off  what is not there? A few da…

A Disturbing news yet again

Education Ministry's exemplary move to transfer Thimphu's senior most teachers to dzonkhags other than Paro and Phuentsholing, is disturbing piece of news. Maybe the ministry is fully awake now. And maybe the ministry is sending message of equity and justice here. But what will be the effect on  those 34 listed teachers' morale and dedication? What will happen to their teaching enthusiasm? 

Most of these senior teachers have served in remote places prior to their posting in Thimphu. And if that is the case, then their justification to continue to teach in schools in Thimphu hold water. After all, isn't it the government's policy for teachers to be posted to remote areas prior to their posting in urban areas? 


Hopefully, these teachers may not take to resignation. If they do, it is a great loss to the country. I personally didn't like some teachers from remote areas saying that  there are thousands willing to teach even if these 34 teachers resign.


I am tempted to …

The Mother of all Exams

Last night, I was so busy calling my friends who are sitting down today to write the last exam of their life - CSCE, the mother of all exams - one that would either build or destroy their future. I wished all my friends best of luck - they're critically in need of all the luck in the world. Most of them sounded scared and terrified with the thought of it. But I am sure they would do well.  

I envy their opportunity to appear this exam. As a small boy, I would dangle wooden swords around my waist and fancy walking majestically through the courtyard of a dzong but dreams change. Maybe I was not born to wear all those patangs and buramarp. But I am contend with my share of luck.  Life is full of surprises. 

So, to all my friends once again - even if you don't make it, don't worry, but give all your best. That's what counts. If it is not written for us in the first place, no amount of effort can bring us that kind of life. I wish you all the best.

All my Prayers!  

Qualification-Experienece Debate

Introduction
There are a group of people who contend that the qualification is more important than the experience only to be disagreed by another section of the society. The former believes that the qualification provides understanding of a particular job and its nature and that for an organization’s success, qualified people are assets. But the latter believes qualification is important only at the entry level, but experience makes one carry out his job with greater efficiency and increased productivity.
Fore
A man is not judged by his experience but by what he has achieved in life. If qualification is unimportant, why so many parents send their children to study in India and good universities abroad? Qualification is like a badge that allows you to enter into good jobs and a key to bright career opportunities. A qualified man is highly respected.
Against
Well, a man maybe highly qualified but what is the point if he has no experience? Qualification alone has no value unless it is toppe…

We can own a car after all

When MoIC and RSTA first proposed a raise in vehicle tax, we thought it was a dictatorial move. But we are happy that they have reconsidered their decisions now. Kudos to Lyonpo Nandalal and his gang! It seems so many Bhutanese can dream again.  

And Lyonpo was quoted as saying: “... a policy where ‘I have bought my car but you should not buy one since it will lead to pollution’ will not work since people should have an opportunity to upgrade the status of their life.”  (Kunesel) Thanks Lyonpo for speaking on our behalf.

Taxing a family buying more than one car makes sense too - some extra revenue for the government and hopefully, lessen traffic congestion.

He who burned his academic certificates

I was shocked literally when I heard that he has burned his certificates and mark sheets. I mean why would a man destroy his academic credentials? Today, everywhere people strive hard to strengthen their qualification and improve their market-worth. You see, many Bhutanese are committed to Continuing Education (CE). But here is a man who chooses to differ slightly. In fact greatly! Recently, he came to a conclusion that there is no meaning in keeping all those certificates and mark sheets in his cupboard. He says at the most it occupies space. 

My friend Karma is a policeman who studied up to class 10. He was an excellent athlete and a great footballer. He had more than 45 certificates awarded in sports and football. But now he finds it useless keeping them. This man who is in his early twenties claims to be in his late thirties to his friends. And one thing I am impressed is the fact that his friends never know he even went to school, forget having appeared class ten exams. 

He told me…

An emotion called happiness

This was the house she lived in.














This was the house we built for her. 

Sherubtse College’s Social Service Unit members and some volunteers rescued her collapsing hut. Abi Tashi lives a lonely life in a village called Pangthang, in Kanglung, Trashigang.

In the event of damages caused by recent earth quake in the east, I wonder the state of Abi Tashi’s house! Hopefully she is still in there, in her house. I wonder whether the mud stove, which I personally constructed, is still cooking her food and warming her home.


The Cost of Belief

At the Manglabar Mela, there were so many things to attract one’s attention. But my attention was even more drawn by a blacksmith in the middle of the pathway trying to carve rings out of a few old horseshoes that lay beside him. 

There was nothing extraordinary about his art – the rings are plain, a mere strip of iron jointed to form a circular shapes. There was no expensive jewelry studded in any portion of this ring. In all, it is a plain ring – plain, simple and crude. But some people’s eyes accidentally fall on the old man’s goods. I had no idea why horseshoe rings were in demand. 

“It brings in good luck and fortune,” the blacksmith was promoting his rings. “It is made out of horseshoe.”

Luck is what everyone needs these days. So, I bought this lucky ring. But my curiosity did not stop there. And I had to visit Mr. Google for an answer. 

Man shares a strong bond with his horse and it is the man’s best friend. There is a strong reciprocation of love between the rider and the horse. A…

Funny people

This friend of mine makes me read and wants his writings edited. And he expects some comments for improvement. I am not a trained editor. Neither did I attend a writing school. But still when someone is really in need of help, I decide to do what I can to make others inspired. Trying to inspire others is what I try  to do. I will continue to do that. Nothing makes me happier than to see my friends improve their writing styles. But this friend is unique. His heart is too small for my frank comments.

And when I point out some of the areas that need improvement, he would end up explaining to me as if I understood nothing from it. He would come up with a thousand of reasons to refuse my comments. At the end of it all, he leaves me high and dry. Rather, I end up listening to his lecture. But I tried my best before I decided not to comment and instead praise his writings. And now he does not expect me to edit his work.

There are people out there. They want us to comment, but their hearts ar…

This is it people

We have had enough - this heat. But now the pleasant weather is at sight. Phuentsholing would soon be the most coveted place in Bhutan. People in colder regions including Thimphu would be dying to come down. The place would once again be the country's commercial hub as it is rightly called in our official documents.  AT least for now,  mornings and evenings are pleasant walking is fun although there are not much scenarios for our eyes to feast on. But we are glad Phuentsholing will soon rise from the ashes like the mythical phoenix.

But as more and more people and cars come down, the town would be packed beyond her capacity. Parking spaces would be more scarce and in absence of proper footpath, walking can become riskier and more dangerous.

And Jaigaon businessmen have braved the heat to wait for this time of the year. They must be already dreaming good business. Bhutanese would come and shop like they would die the very next day. No doubt these businessmen are smiling now after t…

Whose business?

This is none of my business, but I was shocked of RSTA director's comments to Bhutan Times on Sunday 25th October, 2009, where he said that more and more Bhutanese people are availing loans from the banks to buy cars. And having to pay back the bank is affecting the family economy. He went on to say that families are facing difficulties in repaying. the loans. The director was also quoted as saying: "In the past past most Bhutanese preferred to walk, but now they want the luxury of car, and this has deteriorated their health."

That's true. An increasing number of Bhutanese thinks that cars are no more luxury it was thought a decade or so ago. And to do that people borrow money from the banks. I guess that's how banks make money - through loans. That's how banks earn revenues for the government. For the governments pay civil servants.

I understand we must find ways to curb traffic congestion, but whether a family is unable to pay back the loans or is in a…

BBS made it appear pathetic

Last week BBS tried to cover Bhutan's unemployment and its teething effects. It has the message that in the wake of modernization and increased development activities, human filial bond is weakening. But the crux of the matter is when one is stuck with unemployment, even his/her relatives and friends shun him/her. That might be true to some extent. 

Now, coming to the persons who appeared on the screen, two Sangay Phuntsho both of whom are from a village called Wamling in Zhemgang Dzongkhag, one Sangay Phuntsho is portrayed as having no one to put up with in Thimphu and staying with his friend, another Sangay Phuntsho, who is only recently employed.

BBS has overlooked the fact that they are from the same village. And especially Wamling is a small village where everyone knows everyone and everyone is related to everyone – it means the two are more than just friends.

They are from Zhemgang, which means Khengkha is their mother tongue, but it seems they converse with each other in Dzon…

Being a Prince or Princess

The other afternoon, I was talking to one of my friends. Obviously he must have gone through my blog.

“So, you are getting married huh?” a bold question.

“Yeah,” I tell him. “After all I am not growing any younger.”

“Yes that’s true,” he agrees. “Congratulation! When is the wedding?”

“Dorji, I don’t believe in ceremonies,” I tell him. “When we move out together we are married.”

“I mean formally marrying,” he clarifies.

“You see, I am neither a prince nor a celebrity figure.”

Today marriages are synonymous with pomp, power and wealth. Today the number of loaded bank accounts and cars to park in your garage determines the amount of recognition of your marriage receives. It is display of dignity and social status. It is an occasion of course to boast to the world that you are getting married to so and so, who is the daughter or son of so , an influential man in the government or a business tycoon. The couple no doubt needs people’s wishes and prayers for an eventful life ahead but today …

Reason for anxiety

Kuensel dated October 7, 2009 reports a case of daylight robbery at Phuentsholing where 5 armed men who seemingly were from across the border robbed. It seems the residents have responded to a knock and opened the door, which any polite Bhutanese would do. Thank, Buddha the lives of residents were spared although they had to part with Nu.8,000.

But how safe are we? How is safe is Phuentsholing? And how safe is Bhutan? I am scared. The moment I read the news fear bore holes in my bones. It should scare and worry any sane people living in the vicinity. Why? Because the moment you open your doors, you really don’t know whether it would be your friends or fully armed men. To open or not to open our doors is the question.

Kuensel finds that the house had “no door chain or peephole” as the police recommend. Maybe the City Corporation should take this as excuse to insist all houses in the locality to have such provisions. But again, how many of us remember to use them even if we have them? Ou…

Men's Underwear Index (MUI)

Yes, that’s a theory in economics which says that the number of underwear bought and sold at a market is an indication of how an economy is doing. This theory (sounds crazy to me) contends that there is a higher probability of men buying more underwear when the economy is healthy and conversely they are more likely to resist the urge when the economic condition is bleak. Sounds true though, right? Since these items are basic necessity some economists must have been tempted to base their theory on the underwear. Don’t laugh at me now; spare you laughter for the economists.


How many underwear did you buy this month or this year? Come on now, I am just curious as to know how Bhutanese economy is doing. I don’t buy the fact that when it comes to underwear men are crazy and it is like they have to buy it by any means. I believe women are crazier when it comes to undies. Some go to the extent of skipping meals so that they save enough to buy new and colorful items. Well, that’s an exaggerati…

The everyday road

Sometimes the heat is beyond toleration point even in the mornings. And being a man without wheels to roll on the road, I have no option but to ride taxis to office almost every day. God, I am getting more used to the rides these days. And bulge on my tummy laughs at me. Once I reach the office premise, I regret the decision because the distance is not even a song’s length played on the cab’s music player. I get out with so much hesitation more so from wanting to hear the song in full.


And sitting in car in the front seat is the weirdest moment I am getting to experience these days. My conservation or the drivers’ or our conversation begins and concludes on the same note:
“It is getting hotter every day mosh?”
“Yeah the heat is too much…”
“So, you are from here right? Don’t go on long journeys?”
“Yeah, but only sometimes, so many taxis in town… no business…”
“Oh I see …”

And on reaching this abandoned section of the road:
“I don’t know why they never repair this part of the road …”
“I guess n…

On the Screen for a day

Yesterday (October 1, 2009) for the first time in the history of our organization, we conducted our board meeting via a video conferencing device, provided by Royal University of Bhutan in Thimphu and College of Science and Technology in Phuentsholing. We talk on the phone every day, but seeing the person at the other end is a unique experience. Especially when we have multiple road blocks on Phuentsholing-Thimphu highway, it comes as a big relief to us all because it would be easier to conduct those emergency meetings. 

Other than the echoing hall, I thought the sound quality was okay. But on the whole pictorial quality was terrible. If a person moves, the images are beyond recognition. Of course that maybe due to inferior connection, I guess. It was like watching familiar faces on a huge television screen one whole day. But like any other meetings, it was a helluva of a meeting, you know what I am talking of – (all meetings invite sleep ---shhh don’t tell anyone)
However, it is amazi…

Email from Miss Dorimab Kuru

I received this email from a stranger who calls herself Miss Dorimab Kuru. I was surprised she mentioned my profile on nopkin. I am scared now – I have let loose some information there. How safe we are on the net only time will tell. And I find people on the net who claimed to have received similar mails. If you are the next receiver, I won’t be surprised. 

The following is the dittoed email:
My name is Miss dorimab Kuru, I saw your profile today on www.nopkin.com and became interested in you, i will also like to know you the more, and i want you to send a mail to my email address so i can give you my picture for you to know whom l am.Here is my email address (dorimab4u@yahoo.com) believe we can move from here.I am waiting for your mail to my email address above.Miss dorimab.(Remeber the distance or colour does not matter but love matters alot in life)
I don’t know how many of such mails I would be receiving and how many of you would be too, but if you receive one just smile and ignore…

Fighting RCSCE-phobia

Now that the orientation is over, graduates all over Bhutan would be hunting for information and scratching through all our history books. And in absence of readily available information, it is going to be so frustrating for many. There are are aspirants like Tashi.P Ganzinwho are already seeking divine intervention- whether to appear or not to. 

This is the biggest moment in a graduate’s life – it’s time to learn and relearn so many things about the home and the world. And they need good attention from their parents and relatives, guidance and advice from elders. I am sure all 1300 graduates who attended the NGOP may not appear RCSC Common examination, but we need to inspire and encourage those that brave the odds.
Many of my friends are waiting to take the exam of their life – their future will either be made or broken when RCSC declares the results. And my full prayers and support are with them. They are terribly afraid of it to say the least.
I heard while there are no problems in …

Technology and us

Obviously 21st Century man is bestowed with the best of modern technologies and fancy gadgets. And definitely our lives have become much easier and yet much more complex. By the same token, we have become so dependent on technologies that we are almost handicapped without them. We are victims of time and changing technologies. The following are some evidence that prove our dependence:
I cannot remember a single contact number without my mobile phone-bookWithout a calculator to wait for me, I panic even with a simple addition Today life without electricity is unthinkable: Computers will be useless
The art of blogging will die
Fans will stop
Vegetables will rot in the fridges
Trip to lhakhang or goempa is near impossible without the roadPower tillers have replaced oxen on the village farmsToday our farmers use chainsaws to fell tree because they find using axes too tiringLPG cylinders have replaced our warm hearths Rice cookers have easily …

Our own Prometheus

In Greek mythology, Prometheus is the one who steals fire from heaven and gives it back to the world. Humans are said to have possessed fire initially, but the Greek myth tells us that Zeus, the king of gods had hidden it from people when he was insulted by them. 

This is an interesting story. Prometheus presents Zeus two sacrificial offerings to choose: a carcass of an ox stuffed with all beef and collection of bull’s bones smeared with fat.But Zeus mistakenly chooses bones. And that’s why humans started the trend of burning bones mixed with fat as an offering to gods while humans enjoy the meat. Zeus feels insulted; so, he hides fire altogether. And this is when Prometheus comes into picture.
As a punishment, Zeus binds Prometheus onto a rock where an eagle is said to be eating his liver, which grows again only to be eaten the next day, and so on. Poor Prometheus!
These days from the archery ground to swimming pool to taxi-parking to offices, people are talking about the latest devel…

Eponymous Confusion

Yes that’s another term for people bearing the same name and all that confusions resulting thereof. In Bhutan, most of us are named in the similar fashion. And when two people in an office share the same name, it’s heluva confusion. You don’t know who is being talked of, who is called or who is blamed, who is being gossiped about, who is appreciated and all that. There are three or four people I am forced to share my first name in the organization, two being in the same office and by coincidence all of us are known by our first names. 

Every time someone utters my name, my involuntary muscles make me look in the caller’s direction. Most of the time, the person in question is not me. But that makes me alert anyways.
But at least I am in a better position. We have an office assistant called Cheat Bahadur. And the boss constantly calls him to her table. The way she calls his name and the accent makes me feel uncomfortable, especially hearing the sound. For an honest person like him, I don…

BOB Net Banking - Comfort Banking

Coinciding with its 41st Foundation Day, Bank of Bhutan launched Internet Banking. With the introduction of this facility, the customers have the option of banking from their homes without having to wait in long queues in crowded branches. As of 31st August 2009, there are 2567 registered customers availing the facilities.
What can I do with Internet Banking? With Internet Banking, you have control over your money in the bank 24X7. You can:
1. Search statements Search your statements by date, amount or payment typeDownload statements
2. Real time balances Check your balance online
Keep track of the money going in and out of your accountsView your balances for your local and foreign currency accounts (BOB account holders) 3. Make and receive payment online Make immediate transfers between your accounts or from your accounts to any other accounts within BOBMake payments of a total of Nu. 100,000 a daySave details of payment or other beneficiaries to make repeat payments 4. Cheque Payment Order…

And she is still waiting

It is been a year since she has been waiting. And knowing that he won’t come, she still waits. Somehow she cannot get off the feeling that he would come and save her. How easily could someone who promised her moon and stars change? How could he be so heartless to let her undergo a series of pains and heartaches? Today she misses her absent mother and the dead father more than ever. Phuentsholing is a strange place. And survival threw her into different places and people, working for an Indian jewelry shop to waiter at a small hotel to a parking fee collection.As far as her memory goes back, she has been working for one family or another. And the family she had been working for a year ago was by far the best people. After the death of her father, her mother remarried and ran away with a man. When she thought she was learning to forget the absence of her mother, this man came along and promised her a colorful life. She decided even if she has nothing to eat, if there was someone who tr…

Unlucky eight Lucky Signs

In Bhutan eight lucky signs are considered auspicious. We find them everywhere and we wouldn't be surprised if some of them find their place in public defecation centers. And believed to have been offered by the Gods to the Gautama Buddha after he attained his enlightenment, these eight symbols represent good fortune.


If you visit Phuentsholing, don’t forget to pay homage to these eight lucky signs displayed along the wall that divides Phuentsholing from Jaigaon. Dantak people have taken good
initiatives of painting them, but today they stare us from the specks of mosses and accumulated dust. There are too too many even to notice.



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